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The Northeast Biodefense Center, a consortium of academic and governmental biomedical research organizations and public health agencies led by Columbia University, the Academic Medicine Development Corporation, and the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health, has been awarded a multi-year federal grant of more than $9 million per year for biodefense research. The award is to establish one of eight Regional Centers of Excellence (RCE) for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research. These multidisciplinary centers are key elements of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' strategic plan for biodefense research and will be an adjunct to National Biodefense Laboratories. Scientists associated with the RCEs will utilize National Biodefense Laboratory facilities to conduct research on select microbial agents.

The RCEs will support investigator-directed research with an emphasis on the development and testing of vaccine, therapeutic and diagnostic concepts. In addition, the RCEs will offer specialized training in biodefense research activities for investigators and other personnel; maintain scientific core facilities available to approved investigators from academia, government, biotech companies and the pharmaceutical industry; and provide facilities and support to first responders in the event of a national biodefense emergency.

The Northeast Biodefense Center's principal investigator and scientific director is Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, the Jerome L. and Dawn Greene Professor of Epidemiology, director of the Greene Infectious Disease Laboratory at the Mailman School of Public Health, and professor of neurology and pathology at P&S.

Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University, says: "In a time when new infectious diseases appear with increasing frequency, and terrorism is a persistent looming threat, collaborative efforts that unite research and expertise across institutional and geographic boundaries are essential to human welfare. The Northeast Biodefense Center, born in the aftermath of 9/11, is one such effort and, hopefully, a paradigm for others."

Other lead institutions are Rockefeller University; Yale University; Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Public Health Research Institute; Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Cornell University; SUNY Stony Brook; New York University; University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; SUNY Buffalo; and University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Additional information on NIAID's biodefense program is available at http://www.niaid.nih.gov/biodefense


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